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Natural Born Heroes  By  cover art

Natural Born Heroes

By: Christopher McDougall
Narrated by: John Chancer
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Publisher's Summary

When Chris McDougall stumbled across the story of Churchill's 'dirty tricksters', a motley crew of English poets and academics who helped resist the Nazi invasion of Crete, he knew he was on the track of something special.

To beat the odds, the tricksters - starving, aging, outnumbered - tapped in to an ancient style of fitness: the lost art of heroism. They listened to their instincts, replaced calories with stored bodily fat, and used their fascia, the network of tissue which criss-crosses the body, to catapult themselves to superhuman strength and endurance.

Soon McDougall was in the middle of a modern fitness revolution taking place everywhere from Parisian parkour routes to state-of-the-art laboratories and based on the know-how of Shanghai street fighters and Wild West gunslingers.

Just as Born to Run got runners off the treadmill and into nature, Natural Born Heroes will inspire casual athletes to dump the gym memberships for cross-training, mud runs, and free-running.

©2015 Christopher McDougall (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Natural Born Heroes

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Confused !

What would have made Natural Born Heroes better?

I came from Born to Run to this and was as if in a maze . The author didnt know as if what he was writing about .

What was most disappointing about Christopher McDougall’s story?

it had no momentum

1 person found this helpful

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Marvelous

Loved every page of it! Will read it again and again. Christopher McDougall have a way of writing that make you even more curious and after every book of him, I go on search for material of all te person's and places mentioned in his book. Will most definitely recommend this book.

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Excellent book weirdo narrator

Great fun to listen to for the most part but the voice acting is incredibly distracting and irritating at times. Especially when he does women’s and kids voices or puts on a pseudo British accent as though he reading fiction. It’s down right horrible and ruins an otherwise excellent time listening. It’s all the more unbearable because he is actually reasonable (certainly not good) for the most part. He should stick to novels. McDougall is such a good writer that I feel like a lot of the coolness is lost in the audio version anyway. Get the kindle version or one made of paper for the best experience from this writer.

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A fantastic book!

This book is highly recommended by Laird Hamilton, the legendary Hawaiian Big wave surfer and peak performance devotee. He described it as ‘Biblical’ in the impact it had on him. I highly agree, the author deftly weaves ancient history, World War II resistance heroism with modern parkour, functional fitness and diet cutting edge science. Highly entertaining and full of usable inspiration.

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outstanding

More than a war story of epic proportions, it is a blueprint for a healthy, vibrant and exciting life. were I able to ensure that the very best among my friends and military comrades read just one book - this would be it.

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  • Mark
  • 04-30-16

Natural reading for all survivors

I have just finished reading ‘Natural Born Heroes’ by Christopher McDougall and it truly put in focus my transition over the last couple of years from obese to normal and how it was achieved so very easily by breaking myself from refined carbohydrate addiction.
Compared to some I was not even that addicted, I hardly ate chocolate and candy, I did not eat sugar in my beverages, but I did like really good bread, along with pasta and potatoes. But I was still a steady 30-40 lbs overweight, even when I tried to reduce calorie intake and take more exercise. All that changed in July 2014, when someone suggested I consider doing Paleo - I say doing, as it is more a way of life than a diet. I did not cut out calories, I ate what I wanted, just no refined carbs and very little unrefined carbs. I was not hungry and did not crave bread and cookies, as long as I did not eat them. The core fat melted away over a period of 3 months and by 6 months I had quite naturally lost 35 lbs. while just taking reasonable exercise. I found I had more energy when I was not taking on carbs and I seemed to just feel great. Over the last year, I more or less maintained my weight, easing in to some calories from Carbs, but I found very quickly that little indulgences like the occasional Pizza had a very negative impact on my body fat, carbs just went straight to waist fat and made me hungry again for more carbs. I realised that the completely unnatural cereal and sugar based ‘nutrition’ we have been fed over the last 30 years was indeed completely false. Eating good quality meat, butter, eggs, milk, fish was actually very healthy and we had been fed lies about good food. Certainly I do not advocate eating factory grown meat fed on corn and concentrates, but real grass fed meat and dairy is exactly what our bodies require, along with plenty of fresh green vegetables, fish and a few seeds and nuts.
When that kind of diet is combined with a normal level of activity, which for me is mostly quick ChiKung exercises in the morning and as much walking I can do, with some running, I feel great. When I lapse to eating carbs for even a couple of days, I feel the way I used to, losing energy and vitality.
I liked ‘Natural Born Heroes’ as it combined ancient and modern Cretan history, Minos to the German occupation, with personal journeys in fitness.
I think the example of Timothy Noakes, the ‘guru’ of carbs for athletes and his regret and transformation away from being a carb guru to being an overweight type 2 Diabetes sufferer, was quite an insight. Noakes now healthy, has now thrown out carbs as being a killer and is now a believer in a healthy low carb lifestyle.
Another really interesting point in the book was made about energy drinks and the scandal surrounding the drink more fluids campaign. You don’t need energy drinks as an athlete, you need a healthy diet and a few sips of water.
We have slain the dragon of cigarette addiction, but have we slain the dragon of the processed carbs addiction?
There is a lot in the book about how the human body is capable of amazing feats of endurance, especially when in a natural low carb condition. It is certainly well worth reading if you want to become an amazing athlete, however, for the average person, who just wants to be healthy and fit and does not want to go to an early, painful and obese grave, it is also recommended reading!

20 people found this helpful

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  • Neil
  • 08-13-15

Loved Born to Run, didn't love this.

I don't think McDougall is clear on what this story is about.

He has a narrative about resistance fighting during WW2 on Crete which is okay but I only found it compelling in certain phases. Into this narrative he tries to weave (unsuccessfully in my view) themes about the natural capabilities of the human body which have been forgotten in the modern age.

There are some enjoyable sections, I liked the stuff about Parcour, but overall I found it very boring.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Chadson
  • 06-12-16

Interesting & Inspirational.

I'm a mid 40's, morbidly obese father to a 3 yr old. I didn't know I was looking to be inspired but that's what this book did. it explains just how easy it is to get active. without paying any fees to anyone or relying on anyone else. I'm 10lbs down in a fortnight, just by changing what I eat & getting involved at the play Park instead of just watching my Son have all the fun. there is way more to this book than that. The stories of people standing up & doing what needs to be done are as gripping as they are inspirational. It's often said, but how often do you actually read (listen to) a book that changes your life for the better?

10 people found this helpful

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  • GD
  • 08-25-15

Fabulous book

A truly magnificent story. Learned a lot, cried a bit and laughed out loud at the amazing relationships and adventures. Thank you for writing this.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 02-02-17

Good listening mash up of war novel and fitness.

Good read, though a bit confused at times... sometimes you'd prefer a war novel and others just a fitness book. Overall pretty good, but does feel like a square peg in a round hole at times.

5 people found this helpful

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  • M. E. Gideon
  • 09-01-15

Good as a story for inspiration but not for learning

Overall an enjoyable story with many interesting characters who could be inspiring. However, those looking to glean some more instructional information may be disappointed

5 people found this helpful

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  • MFW
  • 08-20-15

A good book, but some weird assumptions

I really do enjoy these books, there is a lot to be taken from the dietary information, but some of the assumptions made are clearly bull and can't be substantiated.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-24-16

Amazing

After reading Born to Run I was worried where this story would lead, however it surpassed even that great book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • 2wheels2lives
  • 04-15-16

Loved it, so inspirational.

Such a brilliant listen. Bit hard to keep track of the change in time periods but such an inspirational listen. I listened to most of it whilst cycling. Thoroughly enjoyable experience :)

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-09-16

Awesome!

Awesome book! I want to go to Crete! great lifestyle tips too. next book Chris. .....

2 people found this helpful

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  • MR ALDONIO FERREIRA
  • 12-27-15

A great disappointment

What disappointed you about Natural Born Heroes?

Having read Born to Run several times, I came to this book with reasonable high expectations. Sure, those poor reviews Natural Born Heroes had received were only an accident, I thought. I was wrong. The book was a big disappointment. Natural Born Heroes is patchwork of narratives put together to make the underlying story - the kidnapping of German general - go the distance. Frequently, I found myself lost wondering when the central story would come back into play. Some of McDougall "discoveries" are only half interesting and way too drawn out, while those relating to nutrition have the factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations common in those who do not understand the science (the book should come with health hazard warning!).In sum, the book rarely excited and frequently annoyed. That's the sad truth.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 04-26-16

A dissapointing follow up

I loved born to run and was really looking forward to this. Hoping it would have some insightful and inspirational value. I gave born to run a 5/5 I think and from the blurb thought this one could give it a run for its money. Wrong. This is idealistic clap trap, trying to summarize how to be a "hero." I found myself either disagreeing or saying "well that's stating the obvious" far more often than thinking "that's true" or "well put." Listen if I was young naive and looking to conquer the world maybe I'd find this inspiring, but if you are older (I'm only 33) and wiser I'd give this a miss. it is by no means as good as born to run. Also the reader has an annoying dramatic voice that sounds like he should be narrating children's movies. On the positive side? Not much. Lot of old war stories if you are into that but they're being interrupted constantly by being told how they relate to the "hero" concept.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Luke C Grounds
  • 03-27-18

Listened to it three times. So good!

Magical story and fascinating detail about physical prowess. A must read for any adventurer, historian or fitness junkie. Can't wait to listen to it for a fourth time!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Claire
  • 08-26-17

Amazing story

Loved it through out, will absolutely listen again!, with great information and story telling it kept me intrigued all the way through

1 person found this helpful

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  • Roland
  • 06-09-17

Compulsory textbook

I had to remind myself the narrator didn't write the story. He got it perfectly, I thought it was his.
I coach young men and tell them they should read "Born to Run" to learn how to read and write.
Young men often hate reading. They don't read. They don't get any practise. They are sent to the remedial reading class... where the books are even more boring.
I tell them to read "Born to Run" I will tell them to read "Natural Born Heroes"
Natural Born Heroes delivers on the promise of reading.
It should be compulsory reading material for young men.
...
As with Born to Run the layout of the book is incredible. The architecture of the storytelling is exemplary. A must read for writers.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 04-07-17

Brilliant

Learned so much from this story/biography/documentary. one of the best books I've read our listened to in a long time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-22

Strong start/finish

I really enjoyed the book, however the middle part dragged on a bit. Much preferred the little snippet stories as opposed to the baseline story that came in and out.

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  • Truth Devour
  • 01-19-21

Fascinating

Reading this book gave me a whole new appreciation of the Nazi German invasion. The people of Crete who became champions of the cause, what they lost, what the stood for.

Honestly this book was filled with surprising tales of non-military trained individuals displaying amazing bravery and ingenious strategic tactics.

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  • Michael Velsigne
  • 11-11-20

really needs citations

McDougall's work inspires lots of people to indulge in frivolous activities with baseless claims to all sorts of things. he really needs to cite the papers of everyone he puts into his stories so that way we can have a more subjective view at the material therein... otherwise this is a great tale of mythical characters in the modern age.

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  • Shaun Monro
  • 09-27-20

Altogether outstanding.

Just as the Greek Gods walked among us, this book is a testament to the heroes who walk among us today.